Divorce and our National Values
In the essay “Divorce and our National Values,” the author, Peter D. Kramer, implies different angles and aspects of the connections between divorce, morals and individual autonomy within the marriages of today. Kramer effectively relates his thoughts and conclusions to the reader through a strong application of ethos, logos and pathos; however, I felt his view was obscured by the lack of evidence presented in some key points of his argument.
Throughout much of the essay, Kramer expresses the importance of marriage which underlines his opinion of moral character. He goes as far to suggest that marriage can be the strength of our society (pg). His main idea of marriage and morals is in regard to Louisiana’s new law which was created for the option of a “‘covenant marriage’” – terminable only after a lengthy separation or because of adultery, abandonment, abuse or imprisonment” (503) in hopes to lower the nation’s divorce rate. Kramer argues that the covenant marriage idea is “out of touch with our traditional values: self-expression, selffulfillment, self-reliance” (505), because it does not coincide with our current conventional modern marriage “ideology.”
The author appeals to the reader by expressing his viewpoint on autonomy using ethos, logos, and pathos. Autonomy is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “the quality or state of being self-governing; self-directing freedom and especially moral independence.” Kramer uses the works of Carl Rogers and Erick Erickson, leading psychologists of the twentieth century, to confirm his position regarding autonomy (pg). Rogers and Erickson feel that autonomy in a marriage should be beneficial to each partner and to the marriage commitment (pg). Kramer relates that men have always had their autonomy, but it was not until the women’s movement that it was extended to include women. The author questions whether mutual autonomy can exist to empower...